Monday, April 13, 2009
Playing with fire
Our dear friend Lucius knows how to get himself into trouble. He is drawn to the very thing that is the object of so many of his woes later down the road. "But I was naturally adventurous, and as soon as Byrrhaena mentioned the black art, which always held a peculiar attraction for me, so far from feeling inclined to be on my guard against Pamphile I had an irresistible impulse to study magic under her, however much money it might cost me, and take a running leap into the dark abyss (mis-en-abym) against which I had been warned. My mind had taken fire" (29). This reminds me of another character that dabbled in practices that should be better left alone. Victor Frankenstein anyone? "What had been the study and desire of the wisest men since the creation of the world was now within my grasp. Not that, like a magic scene, it all opened upon me at once: the information I had obtained was of a nature rather to direct my endeavours so soon as I should point them towards the object of my search than to exhibit that object already accomplished" (38). What is most interesting, besides the ominous presence of magic in both passages, is the commonality of such foolish obsessions with the unknown, and the result of following such an obsession. While Lucius's story seems to take a comic path, while Frankenstein's is destined for the dark shade of tragedy, both men must suffer tribulations before the last word is written.